Leading to a tech-oriented digital age, it is prime that children have a basic understanding and appreciation for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education.
Addressing the importance of STEM, authorities in control ensure that it is a vital part of the curriculum. Many parents are also keen to help their kids develop an interest in STEM education, and edtech players in the market are devising new solutions to ensure kids can learn STEM concepts independently.
STEM education is essential because the world depends on it. With technology advancing with every passing hour, the STEM field offers solutions to every possible challenge we face today. Careers in STEM fields are flourishing, and technology has a role in every job one can think of. Making STEM a part of kids' education can help kids transform their educational journey right from their initial years of schooling. STEM education helps one develop thinking patterns and add perspectives to the thought process, leading to innovations in the field. Through STEM education, one not only learns facts and a method of thinking. But can quickly identify and relate the knowledge to the real-life challenges and innovate solutions to solve them.
STEM education encourages spatial reasoning, critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity. Developing these skills allows students to look at problems from different perspectives and come up with unique solutions.
Below are a few examples of science inventions by young students recognized by the National Innovation Foundation – India (NIF), set up by the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
- Water filter/purifier at source ideated by Soring Lepcha, Class 4, and Subash Prodhan, Class 5 from School, Lingzya Junior High School, Sikkim India. Students of class 4 invented a water purifier at the source system that will give access to clean water to everyone. This filter can be centralized (i.e. at the point of distribution like water tank) or attached to public taps.
- Hand rest for fractured hand Ideated by Adi Kumar, Class 5 from School, Deens Academy, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India. A class 5 student invented this support brace for people with a fractured arm that will allow the patient to support the injured arm worn around the waist so that the broken arm no longer be a pain in the neck – literally!
Everyone needs STEM, and to understand why, glance around and see the things that surround you have a connection to STEM. Ensuring that children get STEM education is beneficial for their future and career. Apart from its benefit for future innovations, career opportunities for kids, and the various skills that kids can develop, STEM education also helps resolve the social challenges of the increasing gender gap in the workforce. According to UNESCO, women account for less than 30 percent of researchers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines worldwide. In India, this figure amounts to just 14 percent.
Since most future jobs will be based on STEM education, it is essential that women actively pursue education and careers involved and based on STEM education. Despite various reasons that roots in societal norms, stereotypes, and gender bias, we as a community must take action and ensure that girls get the proper STEM education. If we provide STEM education to all kids from their initial years of schooling, the stats can be improved drastically. Introducing STEM concepts to girls can lead to their active participation in STEM careers, and this will reflect in the future workforce and the opportunities for girls in the field.
Here are a few resources on STEM Education for kids, including games to get started with.
Engineer Girl is a platform that encourages young middle-school girls to pursue STEM careers. The website helps young girls understand the career options in a STEM field and find their mojo. Kids can play interactive games, speak to professional engineers to understand their career options or interests, participate in polls, apply for scholarships, and more.
Discovering Engineering promotes the engineering profession and does so through outreach, education, and volunteerism. The website explains all nuances of engineering, varied career paths, and more. Kids can enjoy informational videos and educational games on the platform.
eGFI. Engineering, Go for It! promotes STEM education and careers. The platform is a repository of interactive games, newsletters, digital magazines, flashcards, kids' books, tools for teachers, lesson plans, and more. The website also offers scholarship information for young adults who are planning to pursue a career in STEM.
Science Kids provides interactive games, educational resources, and activities for teachers, students, and anyone interested to learn about STEM. Kids will find engaging experiments, games, quizzes, facts, projects, images, lessons, and much more.
The National Informal STEM Education Network also provides a digital collection of over 75 videos on topics from nanotechnology to molecular gastronomy. The website also features varied hands-on activities that can be downloaded and enjoyed while learning crucial STEM concepts.
The STEM Laboratory started in 2012 and is an excellent resource for teachers and parents. It is a one-stop solution for simple, early childhood lessons across all four of the STEM subjects. Apart from the paid packs, the website also features free activities and some engaging games for kids.
Kids Ahead offer a STEM website targeted at middle-aged children. The platform was founded by Dr. Delores Etter at Southern Methodist University and provides middle-school-age activities across varied STEM topics like medicine, robotics, wind energy, and more.
Center for Game Science offers STEM skill training games. Varied games aligned to the common core are also available for young students.
BrainPop is a comprehensive platform that offers educational services for students and teachers. Educators often subscribe to the platform for the rich resources it provides. You'll find bite-sized playful lessons that are ideal for engaging kids in essential STEM learning. Subscribing to BrainPOP Jr. can help educators unlock illustrated STEM lessons, games, and quizzes.
EdHeads offers science games for kids in grades two and above. The platform works on a subscription model, priced at $20 annually.
Since 2007, NASA Kids Club has provided STEM skills training for kids in Pre-K to 4-grade standards. The website features interactive games like Rocket builder and Flip Time that aligns with the common core standards and help kids be familiar with and understand STEM basics.
Rene Smith runs the Science Kids. The website is a treat for Visual learners. You can find a repository of high-definition videos in 30+ STEM topics. Educators and parents can use the platform to engage kids in visual learning on any essential STEM topics like robotics, geography, animals, and more.
Science Bug offers opportunities to young investigators by hosting competitions in mind-boggling STEM puzzles. Datasheets accompany instructions for several experiments, including the "Spider Search" and "Mushroom Spore Prints."
Science Buddies is a free, non-profit STEM website that offers learning content for K-12 kids across 15,000 pages of scientist-developed content. Users can search over 1,150 science, math, and engineering projects by topic and interest.
Find more Science Games For Kids here.